The Quick Verdict
Physically, the BlazeX is an improvement on the Blaze+. While it has a larger display, it is slimmer and feels better in the hand. The unit I have here is black. It has a touch of red on the power button, the sides, volume keys and capacitive keys. Oh! That touch of red exists on the camera at the back too. It all gives a nice look to the BlazeX. On the inside, it is more powerful and comes with lots of software that meet real needs here. You should consider the BlazeX if looking for a 5-inch display smartphone.
Here is an outline of its strengths and weaknesses:
– Good design and good feel
– A number of pre-installed apps
– Good battery life
– Display washes a bit outdoors
– Poor complimentary screen protector
You can stop here if all you wanted was a quick review. From here on, I delve into the details of the BlazeX.
Display & Size
These days, the display of a smartphone is a primary definer. The BlazeX’s 5-inch display has a resolution of 1080 X 1920 pixels. Indoor use is very good. However, it lets down a bit once you are outdoors, where it washes out. In direct sunlight, you get a lot of reflection. But if you crank the brightness up, it is totally usable. Also, there is no Gorilla Glass here to offer protection. The phone comes pre-attached with a screen protector that I am not a fan of. Within 24 hours of next to no use, the protector had scruffs on it. The scruffs mean that using it doesn’t feel so smooth. If the unit was mine, I would have removed it and perhaps replaced it with something better immediately.
Being able to use a phone with one hand only is something that I never fail to appreciate. I see the value of large displays, but I never fully get used to carrying and using them. The BlazeX fits nicely in one hand and is comfortable to carry – in the hand or in a pocket. Pliris includes a snap-on case that gives the BlazeX some sexiness, besides its other function.
Dual SIM functionality is in here, and both slots are standard SIM size. If your SIM card is micro size, you will need an adapter. Both SIMs are active at the same time, so receiving and making calls on either at any time is no problem.
Audio & Video
While audio reproduction on the BlazeX isn’t in the best of class, it is quite good and you should’t have any issues with it, whether it is playing music, watching video or taking a call on the loudspeaker. The BlazeX has MoboPlayer pre-installed for video playback and it works quite well. The advantage of MoboPlayer over the default Android video player is that it adds DIVX and Xvid support. Pliris includes a snap-on case with a kickstand that is good for when you are watching a movie on the phone.
In use, the BlazeX performs fine as one would expect from an Android smartphone with its specifications. The 1.5GHz quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM are more than adequate. There are no let downs in performance as far as I can see.
There is 16GB internal storage for your music, video and other files. There is also a microSD card slot so you can add more storage. No card comes in the box this time, so you have to get one. I own a 16GB card which I put in it to bring my total storage to 32GB. The large internal storage means that there is a lot of space for your downloaded apps too.
2500mAh battery on a 5-inch display is a lot of juice. The BlazeX gets me through a day of moderate use without having to worry about it running out of juice. If you push it hard, of course, you will need to top up at some point.
The 13 megapixel rear camera with LED flash is fine for a smartphone, though it won’t win any photography awards. It is very adequate for most smartphone users. If you are a smartphone photography buff, what you need is a smartphone built with photography in mind, in which case you need to look elsewhere.
Operating System & Pre-installed Apps
The BlazeX runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, which means that it is up-to-date. Not many Android smartphones are in the market with Kitkat, so it loses no points there. That also means that you have access to hundreds of thousands of apps in Google’s Play Store.
But Pliris has taken some of the stress of downloading and installing apps off you. The BlazeX has quite a number of apps pre-installed. Some key ones are:
– BBM. Chat and mingle on BlackBerry Messenger.
– FindMe Tracker. This is a comprehensive security and tracking app for those times when you need to find your phone, locate yourself when lost, get quick help in an emergency, and more.
– Barcode Scanner. Good thinking that Pliris bundled this with the BlazeX. This is 2014. No-one should have to download an app to scan barcodes any more. I think that at this stage, smartphone cameras should have this functionality built in.
– PlirisTexty+. This app gives you free unlimited text messages to any phone number in the world. The messages are ad-powered and are limited to 20 daily though. If you still send volumes of SMS, you should be interested in this. Pliris has also bundled a gift card that lets you send up to 200 SMS with no ads and with no daily limit. Once you exhaust the 200, the app defaults back to the ad-powered messages with a daily limit.
– Okada Books. This gives you access to download both free and paid ebooks from a wide range of Nigerian authors. The Pliris version also has WAEC and JAMB questions with answers, making it a must-have for the pre-university student.
Basically, what Pliris has done here is put out a phone that meets localised needs to a large extent, and without the user having to go hunt out some of the apps they need in the Store. There are other apps too, including: Instagram, GO Weather, GTBank app, Facebook Messenger, FirstMonie, WhatsApp, and Flashlight, among others.
Accessories in the sales pack include a holder with a kickstand for when you need to use the BlazeX on your desk (for movies or studying), a spare 2,200mAh battery, a N500 Okada Books gift card, a 200 free SMS PlirisTexty gift card, USB cable and charging adapter, audio headset and ear buds. Quite a package it is.
As said earlier, if looking for a smartphone that you can use comfortably with one hand, this is as good as most. Plus, it costs only N40,000.
Mo Rating: 8.2/10
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.